Why Kelly Slater is the Greatest Athlete of Our Time

Ladies and gentlemen it’s time to celebrate the greatest athlete of our time.  38 year old Kelly Slater is on his way to his 10th world title.   Whether he accomplishes this or not, it’s time to cherish this amazing athlete while he is still competing.  Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice and Babe Ruth have not accomplished anything close to Kelly Slater. 

Kelly Slater has won 43 major events and Tiger Woods has won 14 and he led the PGA ratings for 6 years, while Kelly Slater has won a record 9 World Titles.  Michael Jordan won 6 championships, Magic Johnson won 5 and Jerry Rice won 3 Super Bowls.  Even Babe Ruth only won 7 World Series in his lifetime. 

For 20 years Kelly Slater has dominated the sport of surfing and his image has transcended across the globe.  It’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing his legacy in professional sports.

Slater Still Winning Major Events After 20 years

It’s been nearly 20 years since he began his pro career by winning a pro contest in perfect waves at Trestles and this past weekend Slater comes up victorious again. Kelly Slater took first place at the 2010 Hurley Pro at Trestles, beating out Australian Bede Durbidge in near perfect 6-foot waves.  The 2010 Hurley Pro was Slater’s 4th elite tour win at Trestles (2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010), and brought his total number of elite tour victories to 43 and in the process it propelled him to the #1 rating in this year’s ASP World Title Race.  “I don’t know what to say,” he said. “There’s still a long road – 4 more events. I’m trying to soak this in and not look ahead.” Upon receiving the $105,000 first place check he said, “I’d let a hundred thousand people punch me in the face to surf these waves.”

What do the Pros think Separates Slater Apart from the Others?

Former ASP world champ Sunny Garcia, “A strong desire to win and I’m sure that it doesn’t hurt that he surfs pretty good either.  What set him apart from everybody else are his soon to be ten world titles.”  Garcia continued, “Kelly is by far the best surfer ever and as much as I hate saying that it’s the truth.”

According to former professional surfing judge, Dave Schulte, “Slater rides waves with an effortless flow that even makes the pelicans jealous and no one else in surfing history has made it look so easy.  Schulte continued, “Kelly is one of the most intimidating people he ever met and it’s not that he tries to be, he just is!! He is just that cool, Elvis cool.”  The other World Champions did not have the staying power Slater has, they have shown faults and weaknesses that Slater does not show or have in his genetic makeup. He is the complete package of looks, talent, and brains. When interviewed, he has the ability to analyze and breakdown a heat better than anyone and that freaks his competition out. They don’t see what he sees, even when it is right in front of them. The most unique thing about Slater though is that he knows his competitors better than they know him…”

Former WCT pro, MTV personality and current ASP commentator, Peter King said that “Kelly Slater is different because not only is he the champion (9 or 10x now) but because he changed the face of surfing.  King continued, “Kelly completely re-wrote the approach to riding waves. “It has taken 15 years for the surf world to even get close and that is only by about four other surfers.” (Andy, Taj, Dane and Jordy)

Pro surfing legend Brad Gerlach believes that Slater has always been unique with his body.  “Slater surfs with great posture and he’s stayed relatively injury free.  He’s a truly gifted athlete who is intelligent.”  Gerlach continued, “I think he’s into learning so he studies surfing. It will be interesting what he thinks of my book coming out on technique.”

Kelly Slater is the Greatest Athlete of Our Time

The reality is that Slater’s career statistics are unmatched by the other great athletes of our generation.  But what really separates Slater from the other great athletes is that not only has he had the ability to remain at the top of the competition, but his attitude remains stoked.  It is my contention that Slater is the best athlete of modern sports.  After 20 years of professional surfing, Kelly Slater still loves the excitement of winning and the pure joy of surfing like no one ever has…

*** Worthy Videos Highlighting Kelly Slater’s Brilliance ***

1990 Kelly Slater in Black and White -1st Trestles Victory

2010 Slater Wins Hurley Pro at Trestles

Interview with Slater at 2010 Bells Beach in Australia

Slater Surfing Shipstern’s Bluff in Tasmania

2008 Kelly Slater Wins Pipeline Masters

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2 thoughts on “Why Kelly Slater is the Greatest Athlete of Our Time

  1. It’s hard to believe that Kelly Slater has been surfing professionally for 20 years. I know how amazing he surfs, but i never put him in the class of Jordan, Tiger Woods or Sugar Ray Robinson. You made good arguments for Slater, so maybe now I will. Let’s see if the Florida bloke can win a 10th title. If he does I’ll jump on your bandwagon.

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